One of my coworkers celebrated a birthday a couple weeks ago, and I tasked myself with making her birthday dessert. It was a small challenge, because she can't have anything with dairy in it, even if it's baked. Fortunately, this sponge cake recipe from The Savannah Cookbook has no dairy. In fact, it's so simple, it has only four ingredients.
It would be beautiful topped with a dusting of powdered sugar, but I wanted to be a bit more festive. So I decided to whip up some strawberry-rhubarb compote (you might remember me mentioning in when I made the meringue cupcakes - a.k.a. Cupcakes of Doom - in May). And since I had some strawberries and rhubarb tucked away in my freezer from this summer's crop, it seemed the perfect combination.
And it was.
What was even more fun is that I got to use my new Mini Measuring Beakers from OXO.
Aren't they cute? They come in four sizes - 1 teaspoon, 1 tablespoon, 2 ounces and 1 ounce. Plus they next together for easy storage.
The fill lines are well below the top of the beakers, which means no spills, and if you overfill, it's very easy to pour the liquid back into the container.
Aside from using them to measure the lemon juice for this sponge cake, I've also used them to measure flavor extracts while baking my Christmas cookies this year. I love them.
Anyway, would you like to learn how to make the cake and compote?
First, separate five large eggs. In a large mixing bowl, beat the yolks until fluffy and white. Then gradually beat in one cup of sugar.
Add the juice and zest of one large lemon and gradually beat that in, or, if you didn't plan ahead well like me, just use about three tablespoons of lemon juice.
Whisk the egg whites until stiff but glossy and gently fold into the yolk and sugar batter.
Sift about a cup of cake flour and measure out 4 ounces. Then sift it into the batter a little at a time and fold it in gently.
Pour the batter into a 9 inch cake pan that has been buttered and floured, or sprayed with a combination baking spray like Wilton Bake Easy. Bake at 300 degrees for about 45 minutes, until the cake is a golden color and a toothpick comes out clean from the center.
While the cake is baking and cooling, move on to prepare the compote.
In a large saucepan, combine about 2 cups of sliced strawberries, a 1/4 cup of sugar and a tablespoon of lemon juice. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, stirring often, for about 3 minutes, until the berries are softened, and then transfer berries to a bowl with a slotted spoon, retaining the juice in the pan.
In another small pan over medium-low heat, combine about 2 and 3/4 cups of sliced rhubarb and 1/3 cup of sugar. Simmer gently and stir often until the sugar is dissolved and the rhubarb is almost tender, about 6 minutes. Transfer the rhubarb to the bowl with the strawberries with a slotted spoon.
Combine the strawberry juice and rhubarb juice in one pan. Raise heat to medium and simmer until thickened and reduced to about 1/2 cup of liquid. This should take about 10 minutes. Let it cool and pour it over the fruit. Stir to combine.
And then spoon it over a slice of sponge cake!